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Archive for October, 2009

I’ve been “on vacation” for almost a week now (since last Saturday), and even though I haven’t been outside of a 30 minute radius of Annecy, I feel like I’ve traveled all over. It is truly special to live in a cit that serves as a comfortable home base AND an a fascinating tourist destination – for this I consider myself truly blessed!

Since I’m currently packing for a 6-day trip to Italy (Milan, Bergamo, Verona, Padua, Venice, Como) and don’t have time to write a proper post, I thought I’d give you a sample of what I’ve been up to this week using several of my most recent Facebook statuses (or stati?):

Ashley Herrick:

  • just spent a perfectly warm and sunny day enjoying traditional Savoyard cuisine in an 18th century maison in the commune of Talloires (on Lac d’Annecy), received a special tour the village and admired tout le lac et les feuilles en couleur, en haut de les montagnes (the whole lake and the colored leaves high from the top of the mountains)!
  • loves les Francais agee (French old people). She joined a choir tonight and stuck out like a sore thumb (being under the age of 50), but had a great time and they practically fought over who would bring her to practice next week.
  • had a mini adventure and plenty of exercise while visiting her first French castle, le 13th-15th century Chateau de Montrottier in Lovangy. Took one bus, waited for another that never came, decided to walk the rest of the way from Poisy to Lovangy, made it just in time to have a practically private tour of the chateau (only one other couple showed up), then thankfully caught two trustworthy buses on the way home. Whew – long day!
  • ‘s washing machine is honking her clothes clean, her trip to the pharmacy (stupid head cold) resembled caveman speak with few words and a lot of pointing and demonstrations, but her voicemail in French to the landlady was right on! Ah, the little things in life…
Chateau de Montrottier

Chateau de Montrottier - Lovangy, France

Incredible fall colors in the bay of Talloires

Incredible fall colors in the bay of Talloires

Talloires et Forclaz 10-29-09 154

View of Lac d'Annecy from Col de la Forclaz

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Ahh. There’s nothing better than a warm, hands-free shower in my newly ghetto-rigged bathroom. We’ve been struggling with our shower issue for weeks, but I seem to have finally found a solution and was happy to be the first to test it out. Just lovely! I can also say that, for the first time since moving in, I have heating in my room! Our landlady came by with a handyman bright and early at 7:45am this morning and he worked his magic! Now I won’t have to worry about turning into a popcicle in the dead of winter.

Speaking of winter, the first signs of snow are starting to appear on the high peaks surrounding Lac d’Annecy! This is quite strange considering that this weekend has been warm compared to the last couple of weeks – on Saturday I only wore two long-sleeve shirts and a vest, and on Sunday, two light sweaters! Definitely need to invest in another pair of boots that are waterproof though because it rained Friday and my shoes got soaked on the walk to school.

Saturday was beautiful – bright and sunny, which we hadn’t seen for a few days – so we went out for pizza at Beau Soleil (~10 euro per pizza – five of us shared three), a restaurant on the canal next to the Palais de l’Ile, wandered around in the old town shops, bought crepes from a street vendor (2-2,50 euro), and went for a boat tour of the lake (12 euros for 1 hour – narration in both French and English). Then I met up with Emma to explore one of my new favorite French stores: Gifi! Think of it as a trendy Big Lots (a bit of everything, cute, but cheap). I found so many things that I had been meaning to buy for my room or the apartment (little garbage can, duvet cover, slippers, etc.). Bought a few things but couldn’t carry everything I needed home so I’ll just have to make another trip sometime soon! I was also excited to see cheap  Christmas decorations which I will definitely be investing in soon. It’s not the holidays without twinkle lights!

chateau de montrottier

Chateau de Menton

After the surprising Gifi experience, I contentedly walked home to find the Saturday evening mass just beginning at Ste. Bernadette’s, the church next to my apartment building. I ran home to drop off my loot, then found a spot in the back of church and began attempting to read this weeks song lyrics/announcements + understand what was being said. After mass I stayed behind to ask the choir director about joining – she was very nice and it seems relatively informal so I’m going on Wednesday evening to check out a rehearsal. As long as I don’t have to make a commitment to EVERY Saturday/Sunday (since I will be traveling off and on), I think this will work!

On Sunday we changed our clocks back so that I am now only 6 hours ahead of home. I think good fortune will only last for about a week though, when the U.S. also goes into Daylight Savings mode. Spent the day at an internationally-oriented festival in Albertville, a 1992 Winter Olympic Village, with teacher from my college. It was a very bright, clear day (even though the weatherman had forecasted rain), and we enjoyed meandering about the various stalls selling spices, eco trips to Africa, tasting ham and wine from Corsica and listening to ethnic music. There was also a big section of games from around the world which were fun to try. We had lunch at a nearby restaurant (delicious baked potato, steak, wine and apple tart dessert for 10 euro), then watched a video about the traditions of an Amazonian tribe from Brazil (after which the tribe chief answered questions – in Portuguese, which were then translated into French). Toward the end of our explorations we took a navette (shuttle bus) up to the medieval portion of the city nestled in the side of the mountain to see the panoramic view. Even though the sky had turned cloudy by this time, it was still a gorgeous site of the valley and surrounding mountains covered in bright fall colors – reminded me so much of New Hampshire. On the way back to Annecy, we stopped by her house and she made us crepes for dinner. The whole process is quite simple so I’ll have to try making my own sometime soon. The entire day was nice, but the best thing was that we spoke French and I learned a lot. Now the trick is to remember everything…

Explored a bit of Annecy-le-vieux the other day with Lynsey. Found the old part and visited a church+pretty viewing area. Also found a fresh market on the street only about 5 minutes from our apartment that was out in the morning. Bought a yummy apple pastry and couldn’t help but eat it immediately!

Working on the French friend thing. Hopefully the choir will bring me into that world a bit more, and I almost always speak French with the teachers at school. Also gearing up for my coming trip to Italy – bought a tiny traveler’s phrase book (in English and Italian – don’t know how in the world I managed to get that lucky), so hopefully I’ll learn some basics at least!

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Voyages

This past week seems to have flashed before my eyes. I have been keeping busy with teaching, then exploring and getting things done on my days off! I spent one afternoon with Ben and Lynsey getting blown away by wind, almost attacked by hungry birds, and visiting the UN headquarters in Geneva. Then on Saturday I found myself on a spur of the moment voyage en Swisse! We visited Lauterbrunnen and a few other small villages nearby. It was foggy and drizzling when we drove in on Saturday, but the mountainous area was still beautiful. We took advantage of the dreary weather and visited a combination of huge waterfalls/caves nestled in the rockface.  Then we headed up to Grindlewald, a town a bit higher up the valley, and were greeted by an exciting treat: snow! It had just begun to fall as we arrived and we watched the flakes drift gracefully down as we sipped coffee and hot chocolate inside a warm, cozy restaurant. I have never really been a coffee drinker, but I do love the feel of un boisson chaud as it glides down my throat and gradually spreads the warmth to the rest of my body.

After wandering around Grindlewald a bit, we headed back to Hotel Oberland for a bit of R&R and re-grouped for dinner: traditional Swiss rosti dishes with oh-so-scrumptious appfelstrudel (with ice cream and rum sauce) for dessert. To top off the experience, an accordian player scerenaded diners with local instrumental tunes. This was the German-speaking part of Switwerland, however, and until dinner, I had forgotten just how helpless it felt to not know hardly ANY words in a foreign language. At least in France je peux essayer de dire quelque chose (I can try to say something), but my German is severely limited to ‘welcome,” “thank you,” and a few numbers. It didn t help that every time my brain heard a foreign language, it automatically wanted to respond in French! So as of now, I am attempting to learn a few basic words-phrases in both German and Italian (as I will be visiting Italy in just a few weeks and am sure I’ll go back to Switzerland and/or Germany sometime during the year). Thankfully, Rebecca and Ben remembered a few useful phrases from their school days, and we managed to get by just fine when we came across situations where English wasn’t extremely helpful.

The climax of the trip came on Sunday morning when we woke up early to a tasty breakfast of cheeses, bread, and fruit in the hotel restaurant and then took a train and cable car up to the Mannlichen, a 2,343 metre mountain in the Swiss Alps. It seemed as if we were some of the very first people up to arrive that day because we were greeted with a fresh layer of snow lay on the ground – so perfect and sparkling like diamonds. Never before have I been in such a peaceful and pristine place. With only the crunch of la neige beneath our boots, along with my frozen breath and a gentle but chilling wind, we tredged upward toward the summit. In my long underware, turtleneck, semi-insulated vest, winter coat, hiking boots, scarf, hat, and two pairs of gloves, I truly felt like an alpine mountain climber (or as close as I will probably ever get to being one). lol. The views of nearby mountain peaks and the deep valleys beside them were stunning, and once again, made the 52,40 Swiss Frank (~ 51 US dollars) train ride definitely worth-while. Taking in another warm “kaffe-milka” at a restaurant near the mountain summit, we watched as more and more people got off the cable car to begin the trek we had just completed. In seeing the others, we quickly realized how lucky we were to have had this breathtaking mountaintop all to ourselves for a few hours.

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Fall colors

Fall colors

Swiss Alps

Swiss Alps

The Ouch Bike

When I was little, I learned to ride a bike on the grass of my front lawn. Mom was in the garden and I kept failing attempt after attempt to keep myself upright without the help of training wheels. When I finally succeeded, I squeeled with triumphant delight and turned to find my mom talking with a neighbor on the street. They had missed my moment of glory…

I don’t know what made me remember that moment, but maybe it has to do with the fact that learning to ride that bike hurt (or at least, falling down did). But since I learned how not to fall down, bike riding has been quite enjoyable, until now…

No, I have not lost my sense of balance or forgotten how to pedal. I just have one of the most uncomfortable bikes in the world! I shouldn’t complain too much because it came free with our apartment and it does, in fact, work, but I have never ridden a bike that actually hurt (it’s super old and the seat is rock solid with flat edges that dig into your legs and you pedal). I have ridden it to work for the past week, and the pain is gradually decreasing (not sure if that’s a good or bad thing), but if I can find a bike shop that sells seats, I may try to convince our landlady to let me change it – that is, if the current seat isn’t permanently rusted on. Yay for environmentally-friendly and exercise-concious, free forms of transportation, but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere!

Ghetto Shower

If you’ve seen the pictures I posted of my apartment, you’ve seen my incredibly tiny shower/tub. Well, after several trips to the hardware store, Lynsey and I (with Ben’s help) have managed to rig a somewhat “ghetto” style set-up for our shower curtain so that water no longer splashes all over the bathroom when we use the tub! It’s amazing what a few sticky hooks and a bit of string can do. Yay for resourcefullness (and G for the actual curtain!). Let’s hope the steam from the shower doesn’t unglue our non-permanent handywork…

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

The cold weather seems to be coming in quickly now. It was definitely nippy this morning on my walk to work. Once I arrived I found out it was a mere 5 degrees C this morning, but thankfully it has been warming up to about 13-15 degrees during the day. The past few weeks seem to have flown by and I can’t believe that Halloween (and my first two-week vacation) is just around the corner! I’m trying to think of something fun I can do with my college students (12-15 years old) to celebrate the holiday – the French aren’t as in to trick-or-treating as Americans, so that might be a good topic to start with.

I’m a Teacher?

My classes on Tuesday were delightful. I had two lycee courses in the morning where I just presented myself to the students and they asked me questions about life/school in the US, gave suggestions on where I could buy proper winter clothing and where are the best places to go skiing. Then one hour at College Blanchard which turned out to be quite fun. Both of halves of the class did not want to leave when time was up and a boy in the second class asked if I would be their teacher forever. Ha. I bet if I were actually giving grades he would think twice about that. But the good news is, the whole teaching thing looks like it should be quite interesting and fun as well. I have ½ a class at a time for 30 minutes, and only two groups out of 10 yesterday were “unruly.” I explained a bit about Louisiana’s French heritage in my classes and they seemed particularly interested to know the meaning of “Laissez les bon temps rouler” (they have never heard of “Cajuns” before and don’t know much about Louisiana either). My schedule will change slightly each trimester so currently I work Monday, Tuesday and Fridays, but beginning in mid-December that will change to Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, Thursdays and Fridays (yay for long weekends!). The teachers at my schools have also been very nice and helpful, and the school lunches have been quite delicious! I get a full French meal for only 2,35 euro (plus wine at the lycee) and I get to skip ahead of the line and eat in a separate room with all the teachers – prime time to practice my French – though they speak very quickly and I find myself just attempting to understand the main topic of conversation most of the time. Eventually I will be able to contribute J

The French Love of Dogs

This stereotype must have come about with good reason because it seems to me that the French really do believe in “man’s best friend,” and I see people walking their dogs everywhere I go. I have yet to see a dog inside a restaurant in Annecy (though I have seen one in a McDonalds in Paris), but they seem to be just about everywhere with their faithful owners. There are a few places they are not allowed to enter (i.e. supermarkets, the library) but no matter. These businesses have special spaces designated so that you can tie your dog’s leash and he/she sits quietly and comfortably at the entrance to Monoprix or La Biblioteque while you go grocery shopping or look for a book. It seems almost every dog I see is quite cute, of a relatively small size, and rarely barks in public. (Yes, imagine that…dogs that don’t bark when they’re not supposed to!).

Retour des Alpages

Saturday was the much-anticipated “Retour des Alpages” festival in town. Craftsmen and artisans line the streets showing off their hand-crafted wooden decorative items, hand-churned cheeses, fresh bread, and even animals (cows, goats, pigs, etc. – all traditional French farm animals).

We met up with several assistants from the nearby town of St. Julien en Genevois (right next to Geneva) and wandered through the cobblestoned streets for a bit, gazing at the stalls and smelling the food until our hunger overcame us and we found a stall selling the traditional tartiflette (a slightly mashed potato dish with a bits of ham and cheese). The booth was manned by three young, strong men who made the tartiflette in the biggest pots I’ve ever seen (approx. 4-5 feet in diameter) and scooped out a handful to place in a plastic carton for each customer. Once one cast-iron pot was empty, it took two of the men to move it out of the way and bring in the next pot, piping hot and fully to the brim with yummy “potato-y” goodness.

With our stomachs content, we set out to find a prime spot to watch the “defile” (parade) that would pass at 2:30pm. I was excited about this seeing this yearly tradition that honors the return of the cows and farm animals from alpine pastures for the winter, but I don’t think any of us were quite aware of what we should expect. We had been warned to steer clear of a front row spot due to the possibility of cow dung, but in an effort to get the best photographs and be up close to all the action, we found a front row position anyway. The parade was short but moved slowly with frequent pauses which allowed the traditional dancers, small groups of old-style military-dressed musicians, steam tractors and horse-drawn carriages plenty of time to demonstrate their talents and beauty. Then came the various animals we had seen in pictures: sheep, goats, St. Bernards and geese – all dressed up with brightly colored ribbons or fancy bell collars around their necks. I have never been so excited to see a bunch of common farm animals, but in the context of the parade, they all looked so cute! At the end of the parade came the most interesting part – the cattle. They were the most decorated of the animals with giant bell collars sprouting flower arrangements that bobbed as they were herded slowly through the cobble stone streets. There were no barricades like in Mardi Gras parades, and because the streets of the old town are quite narrow, this means we were close enough to reach out at arm’s length and touch the passing milk machines. The moment we were warned about finally occurred when a cow near us began to raise its tail in the air, and, just as she was passing our group, there came a loud “plop” on the ground as we all scrambled to get away from the street and as close to the stone wall behind us as possible. Lynsey was the closest but managed to move her foot back seconds before the smelly present landed where she had just been standing. There was a bit more excitement when a few of the cows began to rear their heads back slightly and were obviously agitated by something in the crowd. Needless to say, the cows continued to walk in step but their dung remained, and by the end of the parade we were ready to get away from the stench. The streets reeked with the smell of animal waste and as it has been rainy earlier in the day, the mixture of puddles and poop meant a goopy mess on the streets. Thankfully, Annecy has been conducting this parade for years and promptly cleaned up the mess as soon as the festivities ended. When we passed by later that evening, the streets smelled lemony fresh!

Retour des Alpages

Retour des Alpages

Oh the cows...

Oh the cows...

Evening Outings

Annecy is not known for it’s nightlife, but Friday night we met up in the old town to check out the Irish pub, Fin Kelly’s (which my Irish friends agree is a horrible name for an Irish pub). I thought it a bit interesting that a man in the corner was taking advantage of the pub’s free wifi at 10:30pm.

Saturday evening we met up with a young English teacher at Ben and G’s school. He is French but speaks English quite well and is new to Annecy, like us. This time we went to River’s Café, a bar that becomes more club-like around 10:30-11pm. I was surprised to feel right at home when they started playing songs by Santana and other Latin American style music to which I couldn’t help but dance. It really reminded me how much I miss salsa and meringue, and that I hope I will find a group to dance with at the city-wide club fair this Sunday!

French TV

Currently watching “N’oubliez pas les paroles” (a.k.a. “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” – the show is in French but the songs are sometimes American classics – which the contestants must sing in ENGLISH! – and they’re doing really well) and last night we watched two episodes back to back of “Maman cherche l’amour” (a.k.a. “Mama’s Search for Love”) – like the bachelor only for four middle-aged, single moms. While eating breakfast yesterday morning I was graced with a blast from the past, “Les strumphs,” (a.k.a. “The Smurphs” – which I haven’t seen since I was petite!), and this morning, “Inspector Gadget”). Just saw a commercial for Snow White and I think it’s really strange that instead of doing the usual “descriptive adjective after the noun it describes,” apparently it’s called “Blanche Neige” in French. One of the few times we use their sentence structure, they use the opposite. Go figure…

Mini Road Trip #2 – Chamonix/Mt. Blanc

Last Sunday we took a day trip to Chamonix and Mt. Blanc (the highest point in Europe, I believe). We left before lunchtime and had a picnic on some rocks just outside of town, then wandered around a bit and admired the beautiful white-capped mountains peaking out over the tree-line surrounding the city. Unfortunately the “grotte de glace” (ice caves) were closed for the season, but we were pleasantly surprised by the 40 euro cable car trip up to Aiguille du Midi – 3842 mètres high that offers a prime view of Mt. Blanc (4810m). Even in my big winter jacket, gloves and hat, it was sooo cold up at the top – mainly due to a fierce wind that nipped at our cheeks and whipped up the snow around us. The view was absolutely incredible, and unfortunately my pictures don’t really do the scene justice, but at least they will give you an idea of how majestic this natural wonder really is.

Entering Chamonix

Entering Chamonix

In Town

In Town

Mt. Blanc

Mt. Blanc

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The Kitchen

The Kitchen

Sofa/Living Room

Sofa/Living Room

View of Park from Living/Dining Room Window

View of Park from Living/Dining Room Window

Bathroom with Ity Bity Shower/Tub

Bathroom with Ity Bity Shower/Tub

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Right, well, now that I am thinking (in English) with a British accent and am strangely exhausted but hyped up on caffeine while listening to my stomach grumble, I think this is the perfect time to write another post!

Today has been quite successful I must say. This morning, Lynsey and I wandered back over to LCL (Credit Lyonaise – a bank near our apartment) to finish opening our accounts and get renter’s insurance. We were a bit worried about everything going smoothly because it doesn’t often seem to here in France. Thankfully we were pleasantly surprised and received a mountain of paperwork each (to keep), as well as our “RIBS” (which the bank man today explained is the same as the IBAN – ahah, now it all makes sense!) within about 15 minutes. When I think about all the trouble I went through the past week to make a “rendez-vous” with one bank only to have them tell me at the rendez-vous (several days later) that they don’t do short-term accounts, then my trip to the Post Office where I went to inquire about opening an account (yes, apparently they have bank accounts too) and ran into several other disgruntled assistants who pretty much assured me to go somewhere else because of all the trouble they were having. Then Lynsey and I just decide to go to LCL because it’s on the way from our apartment to the city center and it turns out to be the most friendly and welcoming place (where we didn’t even need to set up an appointment!) to set up our bank accounts AND get renter’s insurance for the entire year at only 1 Euro!

Scheduling Issues

As soon as we finished with bank stuff, I realized I had a voicemail – it was a teacher from Lycée Berthollet ringing to check up on me since I was supposed to be teaching that day (though no one had told me this…). I promptly rang her back and left another message saying I would happily come in if someone would just tell me when beforehand! Thankfully, Patricia, another teacher at the school, finally called later this afternoon and told me my schedule. So for the first 8 weeks I’ll be working pretty much all days on Monday (9-4:30pm) at Collège Blanchard, then will hop over to Berthollet Tuesday mornings from 8-11am and have another hour at the collège from 1:30-2:30pm. Wednesdays and Thursdays I’ll be free (yay – more time for writing/exploring) and will work again on Fridays from 8-12pm at the lycée. At the collège I’ll apparently have to prepare lessons and will be given half the class to teach for 30 minutes each, but with the lycée I’ll have only 2-3 students at a time. I am quite looking forward to their questions (apparently they will have plenty) and learning what they know/think about the US and Louisiana.

The Magic Box

Immediately after getting our “RIBs” this morning, Lynsey and I headed off to complete mission #2:  get the internet/phone service process started. We ordered a SFR Neufbox which means that for 29,90 Euro per month we will receive:

  • Internet
  • lots of TV + music channels
  • free international calling to landlines in more than 90 countries

In case you are reading this and happen to be a friend in another country, yes I will be able to Skype you but I can also call the US, England, Canada, Japan, and loads of other places! So just let me know if you have a webcam or a landline telephone and I’d be happy to set up a time to talk! All we have left to do now is patiently wait for the magical box to arrive in the mail (which could take 15 days to 3 weeks). As soon as it’s all set up, I’ll let you all know!

Afternoon Field-Trip

Today, a teacher at Ben’s school told him about a nice mountain view from which we could see Mt. Blanc. Eager for a mini-road trip, we all piled into his car and set out for an adventure just after lunchtime. About thirty minutes (and quite a few hairpin turns along mountain roads) later, we arrived safe and sound on top of the mountain and quickly scrambled out of the car to take photos of the beautiful view. Shame on me for not bringing my mini tripod, but we still got several good “mountain-gear catalogue-esque” photos of all of us with the amazing scenery in the backdrop using the resources around us (thank you rock, sign post, clump of grass, etc…). It really was a perfect day for this trek – clear blue skies and warmer temperatures with just a slight breeze. Amazingly, it has only drizzled once since I’ve moved to Annecy, but, according to the French TV weather lady, a rainy spell should be starting tomorrow. I hope the dreary weather doesn’t last long though because I don’t want the picture-perfect image of my new city to shrivel into a cold, wet puddle just yet.

After our exploration/brief modeling shoot in mountains, Ben was gracious enough to let everyone apartment crash for a few hours so that us Internet-deprived women could check our email. We were all strangely exhausted from the day’s car ride and this World Wide Web session eventually turned into a sort of delirious You Tube “trip down memory lane” involving videos of several boy-bands from the 90s, a lot of random goofy dancing by us girls, and Ben probably wishing he had never let us in the door!

A Different Way of Life

I’m gradually getting used to the different aspects of French life, like washing clothes in our crazy, grunting, leaky, washing machine and then hanging them out to dry on the white metal clothes-hanger thingy outside on the porch. This type of activity is a bit foreign to me because back home, pretty much everyone has a washer (non-squeaky, non-leaky) and dryer in their house. I remember visiting a friend’s family cottage last summer in Nova Scotia and actually asking her mom if I could hang my clothes on the clothes line because I had never done that before (she laughed but was happy to oblige my request).

As for TV, we do have some basic channels at the moment. So far I’ve caught up on several old-school shows that I haven’t seen in a while (or ever): The Young and the Restless, Little House on the Prairie, Desperate Housewives, 7th Heaven (or “Sept dans la Maison” as it is known here), Bones, and Malcolm in the Middle. All of these shows are dubbed in French of course, but I am proud to say I can generally understand what’s going on, even though I’m not up to date with the storylines. I also watched this weird French dating game show with two girls and three guys separated by a wall. The host goes back and forth on both sides of the wall, provoking the girls and cracking jokes with the guys while each side asks and answers dating questions to eliminate each other until only one guy and girl are left. At this point, the two awkwardly meet and are immediately ushered into a separate room behind the studio audience that bares an eerie similarity to Big Brother (the couple is now “alone” in a private apartment setting – alone except for the millions of TV viewers watching the two get to know each other through various cameras that have been placed around the apartment. After about five minutes, the couple comes back out into the studio audience area and each of them is given the chance to accept their match or reject  it (in this particular episode, neither the girl nor guy fancied continuing their 5-minute relationship and then awkwardly walk off stage, still loveless but slightly more famous – if that helps any?).

A Place to Call Home

I’m finally getting around to decorating my room with photos and the few personal possessions I brought from home that are not various layers of clothing. Allowing my creativity to do its thing, I created several geometric shapes out of photographs on two walls. These shapes act as a sort of artistic head and footboard for my bed. I’m also hoping to find another duvet cover or some pretty fabric to place on my bed – the current covering is nice but the pattern’s just not my style. And since my bed is definitely the focal point of the room (and queen-sized to boot), dressing it up will definitely change the feeling of the entire space. I am happiest in places that inspire me so my success in France depends on sprucing up my room! We’ll see what I can find.

Mini Road-Trip in AnnecyMap of the View

Claiming New Territory!

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The LPB interview of several Fondation Louisiana scholarship winners (and myself) has aired on TV and is now viewable online at  http://beta.lpb.org/index.php?swi/ . Look for the September 25, 2009 report and then find the segment involving “La Fondation Louisiane Scholars.” This was my first on-camera interview and was filmed back in July before we all left for France. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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